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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Tuesday Tips: Cornell MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2014, 18:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Cornell MBA Essay Tips
Over the past several years Cornell’s Johnson MBA program has revamped everything from the curriculum, to the programs offered by the school to the application process. Candidates can now choose between a traditional two-year full time MBA program and a one-year program designed for focused candidates with an educational foundation in business topics. Another, newer program, offers a one-year study opportunity in New York City focused on technology.

Cornell’s application process has innovated as well. Now a new process integrates Linked In profiles with the application process allowing candidates to auto-fill sections of the application. If you’re looking for help and advice on any aspect of your Cornell MBA application, contact us to learn more.

Applicants for both the One-Year and Two-Year Ithaca based MBA programs: You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 2,000 characters or less please write the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. Note: approach this essay with your unique style. We value creativity and authenticity

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. You can use this opportunity to demonstrate your unique career goals, personal attributes or community involvement. Something that has been a constant theme in your life since childhood could be an interesting part of this essay. Perhaps you have had a lifelong involvement with a charity, sport or musical pursuit.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there key stories involving your friends, family, professional pursuits, hobbies or interests that impacted the person you are now? This narrative likely has more than one focus because you are more than one-dimensional. You may spend one chapter on a personal event, another on interests in school, and another on an important travel experience. Consider balancing the personal, professional and extracurricular carefully to communicate as much as possible about each area.

Though the essay specifically asks for the Table of Contents, you can certainly illuminate each chapter through brief descriptions. Describe the major milestones and be sure to share your essay with friends and family to make sure you are communicating effectively though the creative exercise.

One-Year Ithaca applicants only: How does your pre-MBA experience prepare you for the job that you envision post-MBA? (2,000 characters)

Two-Year Ithaca applicants only: What is the job that you would like to have immediately upon graduating with your MBA? (2,000 characters)

Both the applicants to the one- and two-year programs in Ithaca are asked to define career goals in this set of essays. The essay for the one-year program asks for your career goals, but also asks for more detail on your pre-MBA experience. The two-year essay prompt is more directly focused on your job immediately post MBA.

For either essay you will want to give some background about why you are interested in your specific career pursuits. Rather than reciting every experience pre-MBA you ideally will focus on the key inflection points in your career. When considering what aspects of your past career to focus on, think about the situations that led you to realize what you really want to do, that built skills that will be important to your goals, or introduced you to people who were crucial to your development.

For the one-year essay prompt note that the essay asks generally about your pre-MBA experiences and not only your purely professional experiences. You may have learned about yourself and your interests from an extracurricular or volunteer activity and that background may be entirely appropriate for this question as well.

Make sure to spend enough time on how the Cornell MBA will help you achieve your career goals to demonstrate why Cornell is the right place to spend the next two years of your life. Academics are going to be a crucial part of your career goals, yet classmates and activities will also be important as you develop your career network.

Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech: As the only MBA program not housed in a business school, we know our students will be different. Students will be part of an innovative environment where creativity, technical sophistication, and sharp business sense share seats at the table. We value expressions of who you are and what you add to this formula.

There are three ways to demonstrate how you fit within this dynamic setting. You must select one of the following as part of your application, demonstrating your creativity, style and technical experience:
• send a link to your work
• upload a video
• provide a written sample


Whether you choose a creative approach or write an essay in response to this question, researching the Johnson MBA at Cornell Tech is a productive way to start working on this question. The Johnson MBA focuses heavily on technology and digital, and is seeking students who have practical experience in those areas. This experience could span anything from programming to graphic design, or even business development.

If you are someone with a creative or technical skill set than sending a link to your work may be an ideal expression of why you are applying to this program. For almost anyone creating a video could demonstrate your creativity, personal attributes, and personal fit with the program. If you focus on a written essay as a response make sure you are able to communicate your passion for technology, the digital economy, and the opportunity to study with students in the Cornell Tech Master’s program.

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Is an MD/MBA Degree Right for You? [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2014, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Is an MD/MBA Degree Right for You?
Earlier this week, The Atlantic published an in-depth piece exploring the rise of the M.D./MBA degree. It seems there’s been an explosion of joint MD/MBA programs in the United States, growing from six to 65 in 20 years, The Atlantic reports, noting that from 2011 and 2012 alone, the number increased by 25%.

In its characteristic exhaustive fashion, The Atlantic looks at the numerous advantages for hospital administrators that have both degrees, because, as one MD/MBA graduate quoted in the piece says, “Many of the greatest challenges in healthcare today are business problems.”

An interesting cultural point mentioned in the article is how differently these two disciplines operate. In medicine, there’s a rigid hierarchy with absolute respect for attending physicians, while in business school, students are taught that the next great idea can come from anyone, no matter their age or professional experience.

It’s a great read, and chock-full of ideas on how merging these two disciplines can greatly benefit today’s complex healthcare industry. I urge anyone considering this dual degree option to check out the article by following the link above.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Wharton MBA Class of ’16’s Entrepreneurial Mindset [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2014, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton MBA Class of ’16’s Entrepreneurial Mindset
It seems this year’s incoming MBA students to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are an incredibly entrepreneurial-minded bunch, with 5% coming in with prior entrepreneurship experience, and 23% who say they plan to start their own company after graduation.

“In addition, 82 students in the Class of 2016 have held significant roles at startups—that’s up from just over 30 last year. So we know they’ve got the startup bug,” writes Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship, on the school’s entrepreneurship blog.

Take at look at the chart below to see how this new class continues to build upon Wharton’s entrepreneurial drive, as compared to the Class of 2015.

Image

image credit: UPenn Wharton School

With all of the programs, contests, and awards available at Wharton, Kavanaugh says,”We look forward to a lifetime of supporting these dynamic individuals as they pursue the often complex career path of entrepreneurship, whether they launch their first businesses the day before graduation or 25 years after.”

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Nothing ‘Dirty’ About Professional Networking [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Nothing ‘Dirty’ About Professional Networking
MBA programs place a major emphasis on networking skills with their students and graduates, but a new study written by professors at Harvard Business School, Rotman School of Management, and Kellogg School of Management looks at the sometimes negative psychological impact professional networking can have on an individual.

Financial Times covers the study in a recent article, and looks at the issue of how professional networking can make people feel awkward and insincere because it’s perceived as being about career self-interest rather than making friends.

This sense of “moral impurity”, as its labeled by the researchers, prevents people from networking further, says the Rotman School’s Tiziana Casciaro, who is an associate professor of organizational behavior and human resource management.

“[These feelings] really have an impact on someone’s career. Networking is better for people’s development and advancement, this is how you learn the job, acquire knowledge and opportunities. It is important,” Casciaro tells FT.

To break out of the negative mindset toward networking, professionals must remember that cultivating a reciprocal relationship where both parties share knowledge and have mutual respect is a valid and important goal. Be willing to put time into building the relationship, and also be open to discovering new relationships, which may come from the most unlikely of places.

The best way to feel good about professional networking is to give before you get. Become a resource for others: pass on articles that could be helpful, or share employment leads when appropriate.

“If you keep an open mind and see it as an exchange of knowledge it becomes a much less selfish exercise,” Casciaro says, adding that having a genuine curiosity about the person they are talking to will make the networking far more successful.

You may also be interested in:
Economist Ranks MBA Programs for Networking Potential

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/10/05/3464 ... rylink=cpy

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Admissions Updates from Michigan Ross [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2014, 11:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Admissions Updates from Michigan Ross
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Yesterday, October 7th, marked the Round 1 deadline at Michigan Ross School of Business, and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon posted some information on her blog today that will be helpful for R1 as well as future applicants.

Perhaps the biggest news is for international candidates, who applied in greater numbers this year and will be able to take advantage of a new non-cosigner international student loan by Prodigy Finance, available to Ross students as well as admits to 15 other top business schools in the pilot U.S. program.

In a departure from many business schools, Kwon notes that this year’s required essay questions don’t touch upon the most common queries of all: What are your career goals? Why an MBA? Why Ross? It isn’t because the program isn’t interested in hearing about these subjects. Rather, the questions will be addressed during the MBA interview instead.

“This more closely replicates the experience you’re going to have as an MBA student going through the recruiting process,” Kwon explains. “And, asking those questions in an interview enables us to ask follow-up questions.”

The admissions director also highlights upcoming events this week at Ross, including UpClose, a diversity preview event October 10-11th for more than one hundred prospective students and alumni. Ross will also host a Social Innovation Summit this Friday, featuring speakers working in social entrepreneurship, impact investing, food security and urban farming, and workforce development.

Finally, Kwon encourages applicants to connect with the Ross Student Ambassadors, who can provide the inside scoop on what student life at Ross is like. This may be especially helpful for those unable to come to campus and attend an admissions event in person.

You may also be interested in:
Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross Students Launch Private Equity Club

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Application Insights from UCLA Anderson [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Application Insights from UCLA Anderson
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Most MBA admissions teams stress that the application process is holistic, meaning they take into account all elements of the candidate’s application and don’t assign overwhelming weight to any one aspect.

In a recent update to UCLA Anderson School of Management‘s MBA Insider’s Blog, Associate Director of MBA Admissions Jessica Chung provides some answers for applicants who have expressed concern over how UCLA Anderson weighs test scores and undergraduate academic performance.

Like several elite business schools, Anderson now accepts either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the GMAT for admission. Chung is more candid than most in MBA admissions when she advises, “If you have not taken either test and are unsure which one to study for, I would lean towards the GMAT since it was designed specifically for business school admissions and we have more familiarity with it.”

Ultimately applicants should choose whichever exam they feel comfortable with that would best highlight their abilities, but from Chung’s comment we come away feeling that the GMAT is still the “gold standard” in MBA admissions simply because it’s a more more known entity.

A diverse class leads to a robust and lively educational experience, which is why UCLA Anderson encourages applicants from all majors to apply. For that reason, applicants with little quantitative experience in undergrad should strive to do exceptionally well on the GMAT or GRE. On the flip side, candidates with a strong quantitative track record in an academic or employment setting might alleviate any concerns admissions might have over a less-than-stellar test score.

Interestingly, Chung explains that the admissions team looks beyond the grades or GPA of your undergraduate transcript and considers factors such as the rigor of your school and course load trends over time.

All of the puzzle pieces—test scores, GPA, essay, recommendation letter, interview, work experience—are considered when it comes to making admissions decisions, and, says Chung, “It’s this holistic approach that leads us to an incredible class each year!”

*  *  *

The Round 1 deadline is coming up on October 22, 2014. Please check out our Fall 2015 UCLA Anderson MBA essay tips for advice on how to approach this year’s streamlined essay prompt.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Harvard Business School Round 1 Interview News [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2014, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Harvard Business School Round 1 Interview News
Earlier this week, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold announced that the first wave of interview invites to Round 1 applicants were heading out to roughly 800 lucky inboxes, with another batch of 150 to come on October 15th.

On that date, HBS will also inform about 200 applicants via email that the admissions team would like to “further consider” their applications in Round 2. Applicants to the 2+2 program will be invited to interview on the October 15th wave as well.

October 15th is also the date HBS will “release” candidates who are not moving forward. “We hope that by doing this early, we are enabling this group to pursue other options sooner vs. later,” the director explains.

Finally, Leopold requests that applicants refrain from sending in any additional supporting documents. “We’ve designed an evaluation process that we believe is as thorough and fair as we can make it,” she says. “It’s not perfect, but it certainly is a process to which we dedicate a tremendous amount of care and concern.”

You may also be interested in:
Harvard Business School 2014-2015 MBA Essay Tips

MBA Trends at Harvard Business School and Beyond

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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B-Schools Still Lukewarm on GMAT IR Section…For Now [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schools Still Lukewarm on GMAT IR Section…For Now
According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of admissions officers at over 200 business schools across the United States,  60% say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section (launched in June 2012) is not currently an important part of their evaluation of a prospective student’s overall GMAT score.

This represents a slight uptick from Kaplan’s 2013 survey, when 57% said an applicant’s Integrated Reasoning score was not important.  Despite that finding, Kaplan’s survey also finds that 50% of business schools pinpoint a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that applicants still need to submit a strong score overall.

And because GMAT takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance on this section cannot be masked by stronger performance on the Quantitative, Verbal or Analytical Writing Assessment sections of the exam.

Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep, says the current lack of emphasis on the IR section may be due to the fact that applicants in 2012, 2013, and 2014 probably submitted scores from the old GMAT, since scores are good for five years.

The tide will likely change though as more applicants submit scores from the current iteration of the GMAT with the IR section. For that reason, Kaplan advises MBA applicants to continue preparing for and doing well on the IR section.

“Similar to how not scoring well on Integrated Reasoning cannot be masked  by good performance on other sections because it receives its own separate score, doing well on Integrated Reasoning can set you apart from other applicants in a positive way,” says Carlidge. “Use it to your advantage.”

For the 2014 Kaplan survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.

You may also be interested in:
The New GMAT Integrated Reasoning: What to Expect

Score Preview Added to GMAT

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Choose Safety Schools for Your MBA Applications Carefully [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Choose Safety Schools for Your MBA Applications Carefully
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Landing a seat at a top MBA program isn’t a slam-dunk for anybody. It’s getting increasingly competitive to get into the highest-ranked schools.

The term safety school gets thrown around quite a bit in MBA admissions, and it’s important for applicants to have a clear understanding of what that term means before they start the school selection process.

The rule when coming up with a list of business schools is that you must feel genuine enthusiasm about attending each and every one of them, regardless of whether they are dream schools or programs you might consider a safer bet. If you would feel disappointed rather than ecstatic about advancing your career by attending a school, then do not apply. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and your money.

[Consider the benefits of looking beyond the top-ranked business schools.]

A good way to determine whether your list should include one or more safety schools is by asking yourself how important it is for you to go to business school next year. If the need is immediate, then definitely include a range of schools of varying degrees of competitiveness. The application pool fluctuates each year, and all you need is one admit, so spread some risk around.

However, if you’ve zeroed in on a handful of highly competitive programs that you strongly feel are the best choices for advancing your professional goals, and you have some flexibility with the timing, it would be better to focus your energies on the GMAT and elevating your profile in line with your target programs’ characteristics.

If you don’t get in the first time, you can learn from your weak points and reapply in the next application cycle.

A safety school doesn’t mean you’d be guaranteed an offer of admission, though. It merely means your chances are far greater than at a program with an acceptance rate of 15 percent or lower.

[Here are some tips to narrow down your b-school application list.]

So, in order to decide what qualifies as a safety school for you, start with the hard data points. As a general guideline, take a look at programs you like where your profile falls within the top 10 percent of admitted students.

Compare your undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, years of work experience and particular industry with those of accepted applicants reported by the school in their class profile page. If your industry is underrepresented, consider that an advantage for your application.

Everyone has different reasons for applying to business school. Your main focus may be on networking prospects, the educational experience, geographic location, culture, special programming or even family tradition. If you’re excited about any of those elements at a school and would be happy to attend for any of those reasons, then consider it, even if it’s a safe choice.

I had a client who applied to both University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Of the two, Stanford is obviously the more competitive “reach” school, but my client was from Los Angeles and would have been happy to go to Anderson, thus making it a great selection for a safety school.

[Fight the fear of failure when applying to MBA programs.]

Ultimately, he did get into Stanford and chose that school over the full scholarship? offer he received from UCLA.

Another client faced the difficult decision of remaining on the waitlist? at the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, his dream choice, or accepting an offer of admission from the University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business, his safety school and one he would be thrilled to attend.

When the waitlist? purgatory continued into summer, even after he’d submitted a deposit to hold his place at McCombs, he finally decided to withdraw from the Haas wait list and commit to a sure thing. He was increasingly happy with McCombs as he met his future classmates and weighed the significant financial benefits of in-state tuition.

If you do apply to a range of schools, make sure each is a good fit and that your excitement, level of research and passion for the program comes through in your application regardless of whether it’s a safety school or not. The folks in the admissions committee have typically been at it long enough and can tell when an applicant has lukewarm feelings for them – and that’s the surest way your safe bet will become a bust.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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USC Marshall Fall 2015 MBA Essay Question [#permalink]

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New post 14 Oct 2014, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall Fall 2015 MBA Essay Question
The USC Marshall School of Business has a streamlined application process, like many programs this season, and requires one essay of Fall 2015 applicants.

Essay: What are your short-term and long term personal and/or professional goals following graduation from USC Marshall? How will USC Marshall enable you to develop or improve your skills in order to reach your goals? (500-700 words)

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (250 words)

Re-Application Essay: Please describe any significant professional, personal, or academic growth since your last application to the USC Marshall School of Business. Discuss your specific professional goals and how the USC Marshall MBA Program will help you achieve those goals. (500-700 words)

You may also be interested in:
USC Marshall 2014-2015 MBA Application  Deadlines

USC Marshall Offers New Degree in Entrepreneurship

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MBA Essay Do’s and Don’ts from Kenan-Flagler [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2014, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Essay Do’s and Don’ts from Kenan-Flagler
The admissions team at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School recently provided a list of helpful do’s and dont’s for applicants working on their MBA admissions essay, and their advice holds no matter which program you’re currently contemplating.

Three Things to Do:
  • Tell a compelling story if you hope to stand out amid the thousands of essays read by the admissions team each year. Make sure your personality comes through so the team gets a real sense of who you are, as well as why you want to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler, and how your past experiences have shaped you as a professional.
  • Recruit at least one other person to proofread your essay for those pesky punctuation errors or grammatical mistakes that we tend not to see ourselves after re-reading and tinkering along the way.
  • Thou shalt adhere strictly to the word count limit unless thou wishes to antagonize the overworked folks in admissions.
Three Things to Avoid:
  • One hopes this goes without saying, but please refrain from regurgitating your resume in essay form and calling it a day. Use examples to illustrate the highlights of your professional experience. Remember, you’ve got a story to tell and a personality to sell!
  • To build upon the previous point: don’t forget to make the case for why Kenan-Flagler is the right program for you. The admissions team is adept at sussing out applicants who have merely switched out the school name from another essay…so don’t be that applicant!
  • Don’t forget to proofread, spell-check, and proofread some more. “Submitting an essay riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors is the equivalent to wearing pajamas to your admissions interview,” the admissions team warns.
You may also be interested in:
UNC Kenan-Flagler 2014-2015 MBA Essay Topics

UNC Kenan-Flager’s History of Sustainable Enterprise

 

 

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ROI of the MBA Strong Across Most Tiers [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2014, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: ROI of the MBA Strong Across Most Tiers
Just about everyone knows that earning an MBA degree offers an excellent return on investment. But what’s interesting to learn is that even schools outside of the Top 20 and without a globally recognized brand still offer degree-holders the chance to rake in a seven-figure income over a two-decade period.

PayScale, which collects salary data from individuals through online pay comparison tools, provided an analysis for Poets&Quants which revealed that the career and salary benefits extended far beyond top tier MBA programs.

Several schools offer a greater ROI than their ranking would suggest, Payscale determined. MBAs from Boston University, says P&Q’s editor in chief John A. Byrne as an example, earned enough money–$2,329,000–to put them at No. 19 on the list, even though his organization ranks BU’s full-time MBA program at 40.

Similarly, MBAs from UC-Irvine’s Merage Business School will earn an estimated $2,319,932 over the 20 years, putting Merage alums at No. 21 on the list, though the school’s MBA program is ranked at 47.

That’s not to say attending a top school isn’t really worth the hefty cost; far from it. The highly ranked, big-brand schools tend to deliver the highest earnings over a 20-year period, Byrne reports.

Harvard Business School’s MBAs come out on top, with median income of $3,233,000. Stanford MBA holders are next with $3,011,000, and Wharton comes in third with $2,989,000. Harvard MBAs, in fact, earned nearly twice as much as MBAs from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, who pull in $1,781,820 over 20 years,” he notes.

The deans of two prominent business schools weigh in on the issue in Byrne’s story. Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia’s Darden School, isn’t surprised by the strong association between income potential and where you earn your MBA.

“There is a winners-take-all, self-reinforcing cycle in higher education: certain schools attract excellent student talent, which in turn attracts intense recruiter activity and high-salary offers. The employment results make it easier for those schools to attract excellent student talent…and the cycle continues,” Bruner says.

Paul Danos, dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, notes that while the elite programs require a significant investment in time and money, it pays off in both career options and compensation. “The top programs are able to recruit the best qualified students, provide a truly excellent educational experience, and therefore attract top recruiters who recognize the value of that experience.”

While industry choice, geographic location, and other factors ultimately influence ROI, those in management education are unanimous in their belief that no other degree can open doors as the MBA does.

““It is a transformative experience that enables an engineer to become a financier, a high school teacher to become a marketing executive, or an auditor to become a mergers and acquisition specialist for a top corporation, says Danos. “I know of no other educational experience that can match the total value proposition of a 2-year full time MBA.”

You may also be interested in:
Forbes Announces Top MBA Rankings

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Princeton Review 2015 B-School Rankings [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2014, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Princeton Review 2015 B-School Rankings
The Princeton Review recently released the 2015 editions of its guides to business and law schools, which also include annual ranking lists uniquely based on student surveys. Among the ranking list categories and schools ranked #1 on them, you’ll find:

“Best Career Prospects”—Stanford Graduate School of Business
“Best Professors”—Yale School of Management
“Best Classroom Experience”—New York University Stern School of Business
“Toughest to Get Into” (the only ranking list in the books based on school-reported data)— Stanford Graduate School of Business
“Greatest Opportunity for Women”—Simmons College
“Best Green MBA”—Yale School of Management
Unlike other popular rankings, the Princeton Review does not rank the business or law schools hierarchically. “Each school in our books offers outstanding academics: no single law or b-school is ‘best’ overall,” says Robert Franek, SVP / Publisher of the Princeton Review.

“We publish rankings in several categories along with our detailed profiles of the schools to give applicants the broader information they need to determine which school will be best for them.”

 

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Social Media Will Change the B-School Landscape [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2014, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Social Media Will Change the B-School Landscape
Social media as it relates to management education continues to be a hot topic, and I found the comments in a recent Huffington Post blog piece really fascinating. For Millennials, memories of the world prior to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram may be hazy, while members of Generation X have perfect recall of the pre-Internet days.

John T. Delaney, dean of Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, writes about the irony of rising loneliness in our connected world, and how the social media disconnect will affect business schools.  This disconnect relates to a growing inability among the youngest professionals to interact face-to-face and to collaborate in an era of truncated communication.

“Because this dynamic affects human interactions and society, it will affect business schools,” Delaney writes. “I see it exacerbating the existing trend of students coming to school with higher test scores but having a growing need for the development of emotional intelligence and social graces.”

One of the best ways to combat those deficiencies, and one that’s already in play at many top MBA programs, is to shift greater focus on experiential learning and soft skills in tandem with the typical foundation courses.

The dean points to ways technology has already disrupted the classroom experience and altered professor/student relationships, but he also recognizes the numerous advantages of social media—including its ability to democratize and increase transparency in the academic setting.

It may be too soon to fully grasp the effects social media will have on management education even ten years from now, but Delaney is grappling with these issues now, and his article offers much food for thought.

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How to Stay Sane During B-School [#permalink]

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New post 20 Oct 2014, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Stay Sane During B-School
By now, you’ve either fantasized about how hectic yet wonderfully enriching business school life is,  or you’re living it right now. Rohan Rajiv, a first-year student in Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management‘s two-year MBA program, has written a thoughtful blog post on how to prioritize your experiences—and it begins with putting yourself above all else.

While he started the program fully aware of the many interesting academic things he would learn throughout his time at Kellogg, Rajiv says he didn’t expect he would have to learn about such things as decision-making and trade-offs, both of which guide the daily experience at business school.

The challenge of competing priorities—academics, career planning, extra-curriculars, social, family, ourselves—can sap all your energy until you learn to rank them in order of importance. Rajiv shares three core ideas he’s learned about maintaining balance so far:

Make decisions easy for yourself by being crystal clear about your core priorities.
“If you aren’t clear about the relative importance of your core priorities, you are going to drain your energy every day just thinking about these decisions. Once you get clear on your own priorities, decisions get much easier.”
Pre-decide your days and weeks as far as possible.
“Most of the time you have enough information to plan in advance. There’s a high return-on-investment on being brutally organized. Pre-decide by blocking off your time for the week based on your priorities. If you don’t prioritize exercise and sleep, other things will get in the way. Be proactive to drive your own agenda. Or someone else will.”
Make time to reflect.
“The busier things are, the more you need time to reflect. Learning-by-doing is incredibly inefficient if you don’t have enough time to take stock. Again, the return-on-investment on a little reflection time is incredibly high.”
The competing priorities never go away, Rajiv acknowledges, but figuring out the best way for you to get a handle on it will make all the difference in your enjoyment level throughout your MBA experience.

You may also be interested in:
10 Ways to Make the Most of Your B-School Experience

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Bloomberg Businessweek Launches #WhyMBA Social Media Project [#permalink]

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New post 20 Oct 2014, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Bloomberg Businessweek Launches #WhyMBA Social Media Project
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Bloomberg Businessweek has launched #WhyMBA, a Web and social media campaign that calls upon current business school students, graduates, teachers, and anyone with an opinion and a Twitter handle, to engage in a real-time debate about the true value of a graduate business education. #WhyMBA comes at a moment when the costs and benefits of an MBA are a source of passionate discussion across the country.

In the run-up to announcing its full-time MBA program rankings on Tuesday, November 11, Bloomberg Businessweek will pose a series of daily questions on Twitter, soliciting feedback from aspiring, current and alumni MBA students, as well as professionals, entrepreneurs and industry leaders with or without an MBA. An accompanying website will track the #WhyMBA conversation, highlight trends, and visualize responses and sentiment.

The site allows users to select specific schools, identify and respond to active conversations and topics, and boost a school’s standing by tweeting about it. A live leaderboard will reveal which schools are getting the most mentions on Twitter.

Ways to participate:

  • Follow @BW and @BWbschools and watch for Tweets featuring the hashtag #WhyMBA
  • Retweet interesting questions from @BW and @BWbschools to your followers
  • Respond to Twitter questions and highlight your school’s unique attributes
  • Check out the website at http://buswk.co/WhyMBA and watch the results unfold
“The #WhyMBA project was devised to broaden the business school discussion,” says  Francesca Levy, Business Education Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek.

“We want to find out how people really feel about MBA programs in today’s market. Our upcoming full-time MBA program rankings will help answer the very specific question, ‘which school is right for me?,’ but #WhyMBA opens the real debate to graduates and everyone else: What does a good B-School accomplish or teach? And do those lessons make it worth the time and expense of getting an MBA?”

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Michigan Ross Admissions Director on Retaking GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross Admissions Director on Retaking GMAT
First off, congratulations to all of the R1 applicants to Michigan Ross School of Business who received an invitation to interview yesterday! MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon discusses the subject of retaking the GMAT in her latest blog post, noting that the question also frequently comes from candidates who have already submitted an application.

Perhaps not surprisingly, her answer to whether someone should retake the GMAT is, “It depends.” The tried-and-true advice is to aim for a score in the 80% range, which at Michigan Ross is 650-750. But, 10% of Ross admits have scores below 650, and Kwon explains what an applicant would need to have in order to counterbalance a low score.

That 10% looked something like this:

  • had undergrad/post-undergrad records that demonstrated solid academic achievement including in quantitative skills and/or they took post-undergrad courses to demonstrated quantitative ability;
  • had a strong track record of professional achievement that demonstrated an ability to contribute to class discussions;
  • submitted essays that were well thought-out and well-written with rec letters that demonstrated a fit with Ross’ collaborative, initiative-taking community; and
  • solidly reinforced all of the above in their interview. If you look like this, then you may be fine. Keep in mind that there may be many other applicants who look like this.
If applicants wish to retake the GMAT exam and can get their scores submitted to Michigan Ross reasonably close to the application deadline, Kwon says the program will consider the updated score. However, a new score won’t change an admissions decision once it has been made.

You may also be interested in:
Try These Fixes for a Low GMAT Score

Admissions Updates from Michigan Ross

Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

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Applicants Overwhelming Favor GMAT Over GRE, Kaplan Survey Reveals [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2014, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Applicants Overwhelming Favor GMAT Over GRE, Kaplan Survey Reveals
Acceptance of the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT among U.S. business schools has reached critical mass, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of business school admissions officers.

According to the survey, 85% of MBA programs now give students the option to submit a score from the GRE instead of a GMAT score. This percentage has steadily increased year-over-year since Kaplan first began tracking the issue in 2009, when only 24% of business schools said they accepted the GRE.

The caveat in wider GRE acceptance: Still only a trickle of MBA applicants are submitting a GRE score instead of a GMAT score. Over half of the admissions officers surveyed said that just one in ten or fewer applicants took this admissions path last application cycle, representing a slight uptick from Kaplan’s past surveys.

But is this apprehension from applicants warranted?

Additional Kaplan data shows that 78% of MBA programs say scores from both tests are viewed equally, but 18% of MBA programs say applicants who submit a GMAT score have an advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score.

“The trendline for business schools that accept the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT has been unmistakable over the past five years. What was once seen as an almost exotic admissions policy by business schools has become nearly ubiquitous,” says Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“Our advice to prospective MBAs is if all the business schools they plan to apply to accept the GRE in addition to the GMAT, then contact those schools and find out if they have a preference for one exam over the other. We also advise students to take the GMAT if some of the schools to which they intend on applying do not accept the GRE. While the GRE is widely accepted, the only exam that is universally accepted is the GMAT.”

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Wharton School Round 1 Interview Update [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2014, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton School Round 1 Interview Update
The latest posting on the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School MBA admissions blog will bring some relief to nail-biting round 1 applications. The school has announced that invitations to interview will go out on October 31st.

Applicants selected to interview will receive the Team-Based Discussion prompt prior to their interview, says Maryellen Lamb, Deputy Vice Dean, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Career Management.

Wharton piloted this new interview method last year, with the goal of giving potential students an opportunity to show who they are – how they think, lead, communicate and interact. Lamb recommends that candidates spend about an hour in advance preparing for the discussion.

As a reminder, the Team-Based Discussion will be comprised of 5-6 applicants. “Teams will be a function of who signs up – there is no ‘crafting’ done on our end. The discussion will have a prompt and a purpose – that is, there is a tangible outcome you will be working towards,” Lamb explains.

The majority of Team-Based Discussion interviews will take place on campus during the month of November and will be conducted by Admissions Fellows, a select group of second-year students. For those unable to participate on campus, Wharton will conduct interviews in Dubai, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and here, in Philadelphia.

This format can be challenging yet a lot of fun, and Stacy Blackman Consulting now offers a group interview prep service for applicants invited to interview at a school using the group interview format. Find out more information about this service here.

You may also be interested in:
2014 University of Pennsylvania Wharton School MBA Essay Tips

Wharton MBA Class of 2016’s Entrepreneurial Mindset

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Don’t Hide From MBA Admissions Background Checks [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Don’t Hide From MBA Admissions Background Checks
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Background checks in MBA admissions are more common for some schools than others, but their overall use is growing. Some programs vet every admitted applicant, others randomly select a percentage of candidates and still others delve further only when something seems to raise a red flag. The process usually take place in the spring, after all application rounds have passed and candidates begin sending in their deposits.

The vast majority of people shouldn’t stress over this verification process. Business schools aren’t on a mission to grill candidates about every last detail of their applications. They simply want to ensure that applicants have honestly represented themselves, their experience and their accomplishments.

[Learn to overcome the fear of MBA admissions failure.]

Sometimes applicants are screened because their profile is unusual or difficult to verify, such as if their work experience included time in a startup or at a failed startup, in a small family firm or at a company abroad, and the admissions office simply needs to clarify and confirm the details.

Typical reasons for rejecting a candidate include ethical lapses or questionable behavior, not disclosing a layoff or firing, evidence of plagiarism and not disclosing a criminal conviction. Willful deception or lying by omission will jeopardize your admission – not minor discrepancies such as being off by a month when listing your employment dates. Most schools give applicants a chance to explain any plausible mistakes.

Though I can’t share specific examples due to confidentiality issues, I have had clients who have had problems with background checks. In some cases, an offer of admission was revoked following the background check. In one situation, the student had already started school and was escorted out due to an omission on the application. It wasn’t because of a lie, but rather that this person failed to  include information the program would have wanted to know about during the application process.

[Dodge three surprising application mistakes MBA students make.]

According to a Wall Street Journal piece published earlier this year, Stanford Graduate School of Business began instituting background checks within the past decade under Dean Derrick Bolton, and now all accepted students go through verification tests. Business schools can investigate application details that include everything from recommenders, employment and education history, extracurricular and professional involvements, leadership roles and even authenticate anecdotes from application essays.

The Wall Street Journal piece goes on to note that the school typically rescinds offers to a few students each year based on these tests, but the omissions are the hardest to deal with. Bolton told the Journal that two candidates last year did not disclose prior graduate studies, even though they had each graduated with top marks.

“There was no issue had it been disclosed. The issue was the deception,” he’s quoted as saying, and their acceptance offers were rescinded.

If you’re on the fence about whether to include or explain something in your application, chances are you probably should mention it. When the issue is something like poor academic performance or a gap in employment history, it’s always best to come completely clean. The admissions team isn’t looking for perfection in applicants.

[Learn about the nuances of the MBA resume.]

Major failures can translate into a story about lessons learned and self-improvement which can actually help your candidacy if you show how you’ve become a wiser, more humble person because of them. However, if the incident you’re wondering about including is personal in nature and does not appear anywhere on your official record, you may decide not to draw unnecessary attention to it.

If you learn that your admission is conditional pending corroboration of your professional, academic or personal background, your best option is to cooperate quickly and completely to facilitate the verification process. The schools just want to make sure all applicants are who they say they are.

If you’re meticulous about presenting the facts, haven’t exaggerated or lied, and have explained any lapses in judgment that could come back to haunt you, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Don’t Hide From MBA Admissions Background Checks   [#permalink] 27 Oct 2014, 10:00

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